MAXT Makerspace Dublin Ceramics Center continues to thrive

Jim Cusamo of Dublin, center, at a recent slab-made tiles workshop at the MAXT Makerspace Dublin Ceramics Center. 

Jim Cusamo of Dublin, center, at a recent slab-made tiles workshop at the MAXT Makerspace Dublin Ceramics Center.  PHOTO COURTESY KIMBERLY KERSEY ASBURY

From left: ceramics instructor Kerry Mitschmeyer, left (looking down), Judy Driscoll, and Bess Haire when the Dublin Ceramics Center was in the basement of Kimberly Kersey Asbury’s house. 

From left: ceramics instructor Kerry Mitschmeyer, left (looking down), Judy Driscoll, and Bess Haire when the Dublin Ceramics Center was in the basement of Kimberly Kersey Asbury’s house.  PHOTO COURTESY KIMBERLY KERSEY ASBURY

Ceramicist Al Jaeger, a designated NH Living Treasure, with associate professor Kimberly Kersey Asbury, director of educational programming at the Dublin Ceramics Center, at an exhibit honoring Jaeger at St. Anselm College. 

Ceramicist Al Jaeger, a designated NH Living Treasure, with associate professor Kimberly Kersey Asbury, director of educational programming at the Dublin Ceramics Center, at an exhibit honoring Jaeger at St. Anselm College.  COURTESY PHOTO ST. ANSELM COLLEGE

Instructor Lauren Morrocco, head of the NH Potters’ Guild, on a wheel at the Dublin Ceramics Center. 

Instructor Lauren Morrocco, head of the NH Potters’ Guild, on a wheel at the Dublin Ceramics Center.  PHOTO COURTESY KIMBERLY KERSEY ASBURY

Volunteers Selinda Chichiquoine, left, and right Patsy Belt in the early days of the Dublin Ceramics Center.  

Volunteers Selinda Chichiquoine, left, and right Patsy Belt in the early days of the Dublin Ceramics Center.   PHOTO COURTESY KIMBERLY KERSEY ASBURY

Instructor Chris Archer demonstrates a wheel during a workshop at the Dublin Ceramics Studio. 

Instructor Chris Archer demonstrates a wheel during a workshop at the Dublin Ceramics Studio.  PHOTO COURTESY KIMBERLY KERSEY ASBURY

By JESSECA TIMMONS

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript 

Published: 03-28-2024 8:32 AM

Five years ago, the  MAXT Makerspace Dublin Ceramics Center was nothing more than tents in Kimberly Kersey Asbury’s backyard.  

“We started out during COVID, all outside,  just as a way to bring people together,” Asbury said. “I installed a kiln in my basement, and we just started reaching out to people.” 

Asbury, who is director of educational programming at MAXT Makerspace Dublin Ceramics Center and an associate professor of art and design at St. Anselm College, was the driving force behind the creation of the two-year-old Dublin Ceramics Center. Asbury, a Dublin resident, has lived in the Monadnock region since 2009.

The Dublin Ceramics Center grew out of the sudden loss of the Sharon Arts Center, which was shut down in 2019 after being acquired by New England College. 

“After 73 years of this amazing work at the Sharon Arts Center, and after all the money that was raised for that building and for that organization, all of sudden, there were all these artists with nowhere to go,” Asbury said. “Particularly ceramicists, because you need a kiln. You can’t just set up anywhere.”

Asbury and Roy Schlieben, founder and executive director of Peterborough’s MAXT Makerspace, created the Sharing Arts Network to fill the void created by the closure of the Sharon Arts Center. Asbury also credits former Sharon Arts teacher Jessica Gelter, who is now director of Keene-based Arts Alive, with creating the concept of the Sharing Arts Network and getting the new ceramics center off the ground.  

After raising $100,000 to launch, the Dublin Ceramics Center opened in 2022 at 1283 Main St. in Dublin and has been thriving ever since. 

“It’s way more than just teaching classes,” Asbury said. “Our growing ceramics center and our members have a connection to a larger network of highly accomplished ceramicists across the state. We’ve become a catalyst for ceramics in the region and way beyond it.” 

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Noted local ceramicists and potters who teach at the center include Lulu Fichter of Peterborough; Katherine Gekas of Dublin; Ben Putnam, an art teacher at ConVal High School; and Lauren Morrocco, a former ConVal student of Putnam’s who has just become head of the New Hampshire Potter’s Guild. 

“The ConVal Art Department are all master-level, superstar artists,” said  Asbury. “A lot of Ben Putnam’s students have become our interns and our teachers.” 

On Tuesday, April 14, at 5:30 p.m., at the Living Learning Commons at St. Anselm College, Asbury, Putnam and Schlieben will represent the Dublin Ceramics Center at a panel on the subject of “Arts & Community: How We Learn.” The panel is part of an exhibition celebrating the work of master ceramicist Al Jaeger, who is a designated New Hampshire Living Treasure. 

“We’ll be talking about unusual forms of art education, such as skill share models, which highlight modern day makerspaces like ours, where people are  not only sharing hard-to-get equipment, but also sharing their decades of experience,” Asbury said. “There is a lot of art education now that is more like traditional apprenticeships.” 

Asbury noted that ceramicists and students from the Dublin Ceramics Center will be taking part in an upcoming community wood kiln firing at Jaeger’s Deerfield studio. The event is is organized by the NH Potters’ Guild. 

“This is an example of the amazing connections that our center has created in the ceramics world; the reach of center expands was beyond the region. Thanks to our center, we have people who maybe knew nothing about ceramics before they started taking classes with us now getting to fire with Al Jaeger! These community firings are really amazing. People camp out for five days and take shifts watching the kiln,” Asbury said.

Future plans for the Dublin Ceramics Center include installation of two outdoor kilns – one gas-powered and one soda kiln. Asbury, along with many other former Sharon Arts artists and faculty, hopes to one day salvage the rare Fushigigama kiln languishing in a barn behind the old Sharon Arts Center building, which has a new owner and is now used for offices. 

“It would cost $75,000 to move that kiln, and no one has actually figured out how to do it,” Asbury said. “But we’re not giving up.”

The Dublin Ceramics Center has a full spring schedule of events starting in April.  Classes include Beginner Clay, Chill Clay Night, Intermediate/Advanced Hand Building and Advanced Throwing. For information, go to maxtmakerspace.org/ceramics-center-classes.